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Smashing Down Barriers for People with Special Needs


Posted in: Resort



The Gold Coast’s upcoming peak school holiday period holds special significance for the award-winning Paradise Resort, as they welcome their newest member of the Kid’s Club staff, 17-year-old Cabrini Dougherty.


Cabrini is not only celebrating her Year 12 graduation from the Southport State High School, an impending overseas holiday to Fiji with her Mum, and her 18th birthday next month, the enthusiastic teenager is also revelling in the resort’s commitment to smashing down the barriers for people with special needs.


Cabrini has Autism – and while the developmental condition affects her ability to read, she has proven more than adept when it comes to fulfilling any task through amazing recall ability.


That particular skill has served the youngster well while working across numerous departments within the resort in the past 12 months, while undertaking a Certificate III in Hospitality.


A regional traineeship award-winner, Cabrini also lives with Epilepsy, but her friendly and giving spirit will serve her well as a member of staff at the Kid’s Club Paradise Resort.


“I love interacting and playing with the kids, it’s very exciting to learn about all their different personalities, but most of all I feel blessed that the kids actually love me too,” confirmed the excited teen.




“I’m still pushing myself to be a better reader because I know that that will assist greatly in breaking down a lot of barriers.


“I also have a special heart for any kids with a disability because I know first hand how hard life can be, not because of my disability, but because people without a disability don’t understand me.


“One day I’d like to create greater awareness about the hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly challenges we have to face, which really is no fault of our own.


“I would also like to make a difference to people and kids lives, just as Corinna has done for me.”


Having secured the ‘Best Hotel or Resort in Australia for Families With Special Needs’ category in the 2018 Family Travel Awards, the legitimacy of Paradise Resort’s commitment to diversity is unquestionable.


“Cabrini loves animals and when we first met a year ago she was intent on becoming a vet, but after her first few days working at the Kid’s Club, she immediately found her calling,” confirmed Kid’s Club Program Manager, Corinna Griffiths.




“This young lady is a breath of fresh air, she always has a smile on her face and her smile is genuinely infectious.


“She loves to dance and is certainly not shy when doing so. I think that really resonates with the young kids.


“The children love being around her and I am personally committed to helping this beautiful young lady to be the best she can possibly be.”


Cabrini’s Paradise Resort appointment is more than just a job, it’s a momentous and inspiring step in a journey that has been filled with hurdles and vulnerability.


The one constant in her life has been her Mum, Cath who acknowledges the insurmountable impact Paradise Resort has had on her daughter’s life.


“Born at 26 weeks and weighing just 1 pound, 10 ounces, Cabrini is a fighter,” confirmed Cath.


“She has such a caring, thoughtful and extremely honest nature, is very nurturing and always puts others before herself.


“I think this really resonates with the kids.




“Despite being apprehensive about working in hospitality, the amazing team at Paradise Resort has given her a new lease of life and provided her greatly needed self-confidence.


“I can’t thank them enough for believing in Cabrini and giving her every chance to shine.”


Reinforcing the care, consideration and genuine welcome afforded all families, Paradise Resort secured the ‘Best Hotel or Resort in Australia for Families With Special Needs’ category in the 2018 Family Travel Awards.


While the Gold Coast resort icon warmly receives such prestigious national recognition, the greatest accolade and sense of satisfaction is drawn from the guests themselves.


The provision of ramps for both wheelchair and pram access into the resort’s pools; plus a purpose-built, wheelchair-friendly room equipped with all appropriate amenities; Paradise Resort chefs cater to most dietary requirements and staff go out of the way to make everyone’s stay a memorable experience.